Regulations on “Gainful Employment” Focus on Graduates of For-Profit Colleges

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Mar 08, 2022 | 0 Comments

Many students at for-profit colleges could benefit from the U.S. Department of Education’s recently proposed regulations for measuring the “gainful employment” of graduates from such colleges. The regulations would compare the earnings of these graduates with their student-loan debts over a three-year period. College programs whose graduates have been deemed to earn insufficient income, compared with the graduates' debts, could lose federal student aid.

History of Gainful Employment Regulations

The Education Department, under the Obama Administration, had instituted similar gainful employment regulations in 2015. Under those original regulations, more than 800 programs, with hundreds of thousands of students, failed to meet the department's requirements. In 2019, however, the Trump Administration rescinded the rules.

The Biden Administration wants to reinstitute the gainful employment regulations, which also apply to non-degree programs at non-profit colleges, as part of its reform agenda for higher education. The gainful employment regulations are designed to hold colleges more accountable for the earnings of their graduates. The regulations are currently in the Education Department's “negotiated rulemaking” phase. If formally approved, the new rules could go into effect as early as July 2023.

Unique Challenges at For-Profit Colleges

For-profit colleges have repeatedly condemned gainful employment rules for targeting primarily for-profits, arguing that such rules of accountability should apply equally to all higher education institutions. However, students at for-profit colleges may face a number of unique challenges, compared with students at non-profits.

For-profit colleges are often more expensive than non-profits, leaving many students burdened by severe loan debt, with no easy path to financial independence. Individuals may have to spend years repaying those loans, hoping against hope to someday escape from the debt. This is a major issue that the gainful employment regulations are meant to address.

Furthermore, because for-profit colleges are private businesses that seek to protect their financial interests first and foremost, many students may experience unfair treatment regarding various issues. For example, many for-profits provide students with no recourse if they are disqualified for any of numerous infractions or if they feel they have had their rights violated at disciplinary hearings. Such academic sanctions can have dire consequences for a student, financially as well as academically. Therefore, students must be proactive in guarding against unfair or biased treatment and in holding their schools accountable.

Protect Yourself from Unfair Treatment

For-profit colleges have enormous resources at their disposal to protect their own interests. Students at these institutions who find themselves in trouble need to counter those resources with an experienced student-defense attorney who will help them get their education and lives back on track.

Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm specialize in defending students across the United States who are struggling with school-related issues and concerns, whether they are connected to academics, misconduct, non-conduct-related matters, or anything else. He has unparalleled experience working with students from for-profit colleges, helping them to triumph over biased conduct rulings and unfair disqualifications. Attorney Lento will fight hard to protect your rights, but he will also negotiate with the school's representatives to achieve the best possible resolution.

To gain expert protection against unfair treatment, students and parents can contact Attorney Lento and the Lento Law Firm team at 888-535-3686. The Lento Law Firm can also be contacted via its online form.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients nationwide. Attorney Lento and his team represent students and others in disciplinary cases and various other proceedings at colleges and universities across the United States. Attorney Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand colleges and universities across the United States, and when necessary, he and his team have sought justice on behalf of clients in courts across the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide, and he can help you or your student address any school-related issue or concern anywhere in the United States.


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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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